Bait Shop [DVD]
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Bill Engvall, Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Joe Shaver. Forced to pony up $15,000 to keep the bank from foreclosing on his bait shop, a Southern bass master enters a fishing tournament and goes head-to-head against his bitter bait shop rival. Talk about reel" funny! 2008/color/85 min/PG/widescreen.
Bait Shop stars the eternally affable yet exasperated comedian Bill Engvall as Bill Dugan, owner of a homey but smalltime bait shop. Bill's job and self-respect are threatened when arrogant fishing celebrity Hot Rod Johnson (Billy Ray Cyrus, better known as Miley's dad) opens a massive fishing superstore right next door. Only by challenging Hot Rod in a bass fishing tournament can Bill set things right! Bait Shop is a bundle of clumsy cliches made somewhat tolerable by a likable cast (including outlaw country music singer Billy Joe Shaver as Bill's mentor) and an enthusiastic performance by Cyrus, who clearly enjoys being the bad guy for once. High points include Bill having a bar fight while dressed in a fish costume and Bill wrestling an obviously rubber bass into his boat. There are many declarations about how fishing used to be more pure and how friendship is the most important thing in life. Extras include a standard-issue making-of documentary, some beautiful shots of the local landscape (which, inexplicably, never got used in the movie itself), some understandably deleted scenes and some scenes of the cast goofing around. All in all, not much effort was put into making either the movie or the DVD. --Bret Fetzer
Top customer reviews
Nonetheless, "Bait Shop" accurately defines this ridiculously rib-splitting, knee-slapping, belly-busting funny film. That said, first let me state, I'm part of the bass fishing crowd. I've been bass fishing for more than 20 years, salt-water bass, striped bass, so I understand the passion, the drive, the insane feelings for the need to bass fish. And this movie like in life, the scenes inside the bait shop could get reel wacky, reel quickly inside the doors of the local bait shop. For example, there, I remember talking to a fellow fisherman, he said he had spent 45 years working for the government, and it was time for him to take fishing quite seriously again. He did. Yet, he acted as though he had spent 45 years, five days a week, fishing. He considered himself an expert even though he spent most of his life pushing a pencil instead of cranking a reel. Every one, who fished on the surf at the local fishing hole, nevertheless, believed him, not knowing he was a long-time pencil pusher. Among the crowd, he became an instant fishing hero, even though I had never seen him catch a fish during the decades I had fished the waters.
Fishing could get reel wacky outside of fishing itself. This movie accurately describes how absurd fishing could get.
Anyway, back to this wacky, silly, absurd funny movie. This movie starts out with Bill Dugan, who owns a small-town bait and tackle shop receives a letter. The letter states he owns $15K, and he needs to pay his debt in a week or else, he'll lose his Bait shop. Not knowing what to do, he asks his friends, those who hang out at the bait shop for help. He asks his wife, Laura, played by Mary Rachel Dudley for help. Yet Bill, played by Bill Engvall, is in a reel bad bind. Word spreads quickly around town that he's in financial hot water. As a result, Hot Rod Johnson, played by Billy Ray Cyrus, opens up a bait shop across the street from Bill's place. This combined with Hot Rod's reputation and accomplishment for being a bass tournament master, puts the pressure on Bill Dugan. He faces the danger of losing his business, his only source of livelihood.
Regardless, of the tense situation, this movie is funny. Director C.B. Harding seems to have an understanding of the fishing community. And, he knows what works and doesn't work on the camera. He also plays off effectively the rivalry between Bill and Hot Rod. As a result, he paces this movie smoothly. Bait Shop is easy to watch.
In fact, I think I saw this movie several years ago on cable TV. Watching it for the second time was quite easy. The movie is funny. It also uses common language or action, like sticking a crooked index finger in one's mouth, to show someone's naivety. Or at least the fish's dumbness for getting caught on a phony lure.
Back to the action, so in the end, to get his money to pay his bills, Bill enrolls in a $50K fishing tournament to settle his debt. What follows is wacky fun of course. To appreciate and understand this movie better, it would help to be a passionate, addicted fishing person. Some fish so much they are known as hard-core fishing nuts, yet for the once in a while weekend warrior, this movie might be less funny.
This movie, for me, however, it shows the fun one could get, simply by dropping a line.
The characters hanging at the bait shop were funny as well. Heck, even Billy Ray Cyrus did an amazing job being a stuck up pro on the tour. I think he had some of the best lines in the movie. When he found out his young admirer was Engvall's son he said something along the lines of "This is your son? I thought he was some wayward street orphan." Not an exact quote but you get the idea. He did however sport some of the ugliest clothes in cinematic history.
In fact, that's what I really didn't enjoy about the movie were the over the top fishing clothes Cyrus wore. I think a better idea would have been just to suit him up like any other pro and let his character's ego set him up as the villain. But... I have to admit his Elvis Style fishing Jumpsuit would turn heads out on the dock.
It's not an academy award winner but it is a good clean family fun movie; especially if you still have a real local bait shop. Take it for what it's worth, a straight to DVD movie for fishing folk.